Tonight, we have an intriguing evening of boxing that almost kicked off in the hotel corridors and in the weigh ins over the last 48 hours! The date for it all to finally be settled is Saturday the 12th of December and we are in the Wembley Arena on PPV with around 1,000 fans present in the venue.
We have some intriguing early contests as we welcome back middleweight Kieron Conway who is taking on Macauley McGowan in a contest that was all mouth at the weigh in. McGowan went searching the night before to take on the Albanian Florian Marku for a square go outside of Marku’s room! I think Conway may have this one sorted.
Then the welterweight Florian Marku battles against Jamie Stewart who has only 2 professional fights. Stewart stood up to the plate after Marku lost his opponent. The Albanian is a force of nature and backs up a mouth with fantastic performances in the ring. This is likely to be a great pay day for Stewart and not much else.
We also have super bantamweight Qais Ashfaq taking on Ashley Lane as he tries to progress towards world level and Ashfaq will be expected to make short shift of Lane.
Cruiserweight Laurence Okolie was slated for his WBO title chance but has had to settle for the WBO international belt against another late replacement in Nikodem Jezewski. It needsto be a convincing win for Okolie, and I can see it being tricky at first but Okolie has an awkward style that will take him through.
We then have the heavyweight sensation from the Congo fighting out of the classic fighting Lanarkshire town of Airdrie, Martin Bakole finally in the ring for Sergey Kuzmin for the WBC international belt. Bakole, sparring partner of AJ’s is fancied but this is, make no mistake, a big ask. Both have lost to Michael Hunter and Bakole, if he is to make his destiny and be a world champion his trainer, Billy Nelson thinks he can be, then he must get past Kuzmin. I have little doubt that Bakole shall win well.
Then we have another heavyweight fight with Hughie Fury back in against Mariusz Wach and Fury has had the European title waved as a reward should he win. It would need Joe Joyce to vacate but he is unlikely to take on Marco Huck rather than pursue world level fights, so Fury has a relatively clear pathway – in boxing terms – which means it aint all that straight forward…
And then we have Kubrat Pulev looking to be amazing to take all four belts – WBA, WBO, IBF, IBO – from Anthony Joshua. Pulev is a real threat. He may be 39 years of age, but he can bang, and he can box. Joshua, following the fight where he got his belts back needs to really make a statement. This should go past halfway and in around rounds 7 to 9 AJ should joyfully take him out. But should has not been an accurate measure of the last few weeks in the boxing world.
As the week goes on, on Wednesday the 16th December in Parramatta, New South Wales, in the week that Ricky Hatton’s son becomes a pro, the son of Hatton’s former opponent, Kosta Tszyu, Tim Tszyu takes on Bonya Morgan for the IBF Australasian and WBO Global belts. Tszyu is really building a momentum and I cannot see it halting.
On Thursday the 17th of December we are off to Lombardia, Italy as Luca Rigoldi faces Gamal Yafai for the EBU belt, and it has to be the Brit we back!
Finally, on Friday the 18th of December inRedditch, Hennessey Sports and Channel Five bring British light heavyweight action between Shakan Pitters and Craig “Spider” Richards. This isa real fight that could be a great end to the domestic year, and I wouldn’t like to pick a winner in what has been a Christmas cracker of a December.
On the same evening in Florida, and top of the bill is Gennady Golovkin up against Kamil Szeremeta for the IBF and IBO titles. Who can bet against Golovkin? With some fighters having their invincibility challenged and broken down – Loma – this could be a fantastic aperitif to the Alvarez/Smith fight coming up. If GGG wins and Alvarez loses with there be a third GGG/Alvarez fight?
Supporting we have the WBA female super featherweight contest involving Hyun Mi Choi and Calista Silgado and the super middleweight clash featuring our own John Ryder facing Mike Guy. I know little e about either Mi Choi or her opponent but the unbeaten Mi Choi looks the likely victor whilst Ryder must get past Guy as the man he felt he beat and who has gone on to bigger prizes, Callum Smith is on soon and Ryder will want to catch the eye for a rematch!
Saturday 19th December
San Antonio, Texas
Super middleweight action for the WBA title between Callum Smith and Saul Canelo Alvarez.
Super welterweight EBU title action between Sergio Garcia and Andranik Hakobyan.